2017 Ken Catchpole Medal Preview

The Ken Catchpole medal is awarded each year to the Shute Shield’s most valuable player, as voted each week by first grade referees and opposing coaches on a 3-2-1 basis.

This year’s award will be presented on Tuesday evening at a function in Sydney.

Last year, Norths skipper Will Miller finished 11 points ahead of his nearest rival to cap a remarkable season.

Warringah flyhalf Hamish Angus has also received the award twice in 2012 and 2014.

The Contenders

Tom Hill – Eastwood 

Following a stint in Italy in 2016, dual premiership winning Eastwood centre Tom Hill was a standout for the Woodies this year and played a crucial role in his side’s run towards the finals. Hill kicked a 40 metre penalty goal after full time in round nine to help Eastwood beat Norths 21-20.

Tayler Adams – West Harbour

New Zealand born Pirates flyhalf Tayler Adams had a breakout season in 2017 and was instrumental in a handful of upset victories that saw his side almost crack the top six this season. The 23-year old looks set to wear the NSW Country Eagles starting No.10 jersey in this year’s NRC on the back of his strong Shute Shield form.

Paula Balakena – Gordon 

Another name not known by many before this season, Gordon winger Paula Balakena finished the year as the competition’s leading try scorer with 22 five pointers, five more than Warringah’s Harry Jones. In a tough year for the Highlanders, Balakena was a shining light.

Rohan Saifoloi – Southern Districts

Still searching for a maiden title, Southern Districts won nine straight matches heading into the finals and flyhalf Rohan Saifoloi was a big reason why. Playing behind an impressive pack, Saifoloi and the Rebels backline were on fire late in the year until they were ambushed by Norths in the opening week of the playoffs.

Jake Wainwright – Sydney University 

Hard running Sydney University forward Jake Wainwright was one of the more experienced big men in a young Students’ side this year and continued to show why he is considered one of the competition’s premier forwards.

Previous winners

2012 – Hamish Angus Warringah

2013 – Hugh Perrett Eastwood

2014 – Hamish Angus Warringah

2015 – David Horwitz Randwick

2016 – Will Miller Northern Suburbs